And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them (Deut 28:14)~ In Odyssey, Homer’s epic work, Odysseus encountered the mysterious Island of the Sirens. The creatures inhabiting the island possessed enchanting voices that distracted sailors from their journey, driving them to disaster and ultimately their deaths. As Odysseus’ crew passed by, the creatures sang their beautiful song. But Odysseus knew the dangers. He put wax in his crew’s ears and ordered that he be tied securely to the ship’s mast to prevent him from being lured away by their seductive melody. Odysseus also commanded they stay true to their course no matter how bad their circumstances seemed. Standing firm in faith in our culture has become transient. Too often we’ll stray from our beliefs at the first sign of difficulty, challenge or trouble. But God, through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, our “comforter” has established with us a covenant – a deeply binding commitment designed to help us weather our most difficult circumstances. But it requires us to “tie ourselves to the mast.” You have to dismiss the voices that try to lure you away from your faith or convince you that conformity to the ‘way of the world these days’ is the path to take. This requires commitment and true commitment requires strength and stability when faith encounters challenges. Unfortunately, many take an opposite approach when things turn sour or become a challenge that questions their faith or commitment – they run, rather than digging in their heels when commitment requires it the most. Our society has developed a mentality that rushes too quickly toward easy alternatives instead of diligently working to maintain the stability of faith and commitment. We are more concerned about acceptance by a majority rather than sticking to our true beliefs. Life is full of things that try to push us down or take us off the course or our faith. We all face disappointments and setbacks. It’s easy to get discouraged or lose your enthusiasm or even be tempted to just settle where you are. But if we’re going to see God’s best, we have to have a persevering, resilient “bounce back” mentality. That means when you get knocked down, you don’t stay down. You get back up again. When alternatives challenge you and question your faith, you stick to your faith! You have to know that every time adversity comes against you, it’s a setup for a comeback! Remember, as a believer in Jesus, the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives on the inside of you. There is no challenge too difficult, no obstacle too high, no sickness, no disappointment, no person, nothing that can keep you from your God-given destiny. If you stay in faith, even when it’s not the easier way or the ‘ way of the world these days’, then God will turn what was meant to be a stumbling block into a stepping stone, and you’ll move forward in strength, full of faith and victory!